Have you purchased a 3D printer yet? With 3D printer prices running as low as just a few hundred dollars at some online outlets, the tipping point has been reached for many people who have been curious about what the technology offers to the home hobbyist. While RevPart can handle your engineering grade prototyping, here is a useful guide for hobby printers.
What better way to show off your “new toy” (or, if you’ve owned a 3D printer for some time, the expertise you’ve developed) than by sharing some 3D-printed gifts with family and friends? Whether for adults or children, men or women, the possibilities of the gifts you can create with a personal 3D printer are — thanks to always-improving technology, materials and innovation — growing ever broader.
Even with such a wide landscape of possibilities, however, you may still be looking for gift ideas that you can easily create with a 3D printer. If you’re still on the fence about making the purchase, these ideas might be enough to get you to finally jump in. Or, if you’ve already got a 3D printer, well, what are you waiting for?
1) Jewelry: From classic designs to more artistic, unique fabrications, your 3D printer can help you create something for any fashionable friend or relative in your life. Pendants and rings are just the start of what you can design and create — enterprising makers have also created earrings (thanks to more widespread availability of bio-friendly materials), charms and bracelets.
Design-wise, the versatility of 3D printing ensures you’ll be giving a unique gift — or just putting an interesting twist on a classic design. When making 3D-printed jewelry, it can be completely solid and built in different shapes — or it can be intricately built, with delicate designs incorporating empty space and unique patterns, allowing for one-of-a-kind creations.
2) Ornaments: When giving gifts during the holiday season, 3D-printed ornaments are sure to make any recipient happy. Symbols of the season like Christmas trees can easily be created, and once you’ve mastered the basics, you can branch out. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, you can create complicated, beautiful and unique snowflake-like 3D-printed designs to share with loved ones.
Keepsake ornaments are always a popular gift, and with 3D printing, you can create memories that won’t soon be forgotten with designs that are specific to certain times, places, and friends and family.
3) iPad or other device stands: Tablets are used for more and more tasks these days, whether for productivity or entertainment purposes. The ingenious design of many tablet covers often incorporates some kind of support or stand — but all too often, it’s a little more flimsy than one would desire.
Using your 3D printer to create a device-stand for the tablet lover in your life is a great idea for a few reasons:
- • Stronger support: a 3D-printed stand isn’t going to slip, slide or collapse under the weight of a device, like so many cover supports do. Since ABS and other materials are strong and durable, the device is going to stay right where it’s placed.
- • Unique designs: Since the recipient of your gift is likely someone who uses his/her tablet a lot, why not combine form and function to create a gift that looks as good as it works? Whether simply creating an intricate design that stands out from the crowd, or adding a touch of whimsy (as with some device holders we’ve seen based on Superman or Atlas), there’s definitely room for creativity, even for such a functional gift.
- • More options: Like it or not, people are looking at a lot of different screens during the day. Someone could be using a Surface for work, an iPad to watch a movie, and a Fire to read a book. Designed properly, a 3D-printed stand could be one-size-fits-all for these various devices (unlike cover stands, which are built only for specific devices), or could incorporate different configurations.
4) Vases: It’s definitely possible to 3D print a nice-looking, classically designed vase for someone who loves fresh flowers around the house. One of the more interesting designs our team has seen, though, is a sort of “vase topper” — a 3D-printed piece that can fit on top of a regular drinking glass to form a vase — so your gift recipient will never be caught without one again, and can use his/her creativity to mix and match for different designs and looks.
5) Game pieces: If you’re feeling ambitious, use your personal 3D printer to create a customized chess set, based on your recipient’s favorite movie, book, sport or any other theme that he/she might enjoy. Even if the idea of a chess set, with so many unique creations, seems a little exhausting, there are other options for custom game pieces as well — monogrammed checkers, for instance, or just about anything else you can think of.
6) Smartphone cases: This post already mentioned the increasing popularity of tablet use. Even if you can’t think of someone who is always glued to his/her iPad, though, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a smartphone addict to give this gift to. The versatility of 3D-printable materials means that you can create a rock-solid, near-indestructible case as a gift for that person you know who always has a cracked screen, or a softer, more stylish case using some of the more flexible, rubber-like 3D-printing materials available
7) Figurines: These can be a perfect gift for a young person who loves cartoons, or just for that person you know who could never quite give up comic books. 3D printing can help create fun, stylized, fantastical figures that have the look that those recipients love. If you aren’t artistically inclined or able to come up with designs by yourself, there are plenty of apps out there that will help you along with creating characters to 3D print.
8) Portraits: Surprise a loved one with a 3D-printed portrait or bust of him/her — no artist commission needed. 3D-printing technology has grown to the point that you can now take a picture on your smartphone with a special app (and typically, a physical attachment or device), use it to generate a 3D-printable file, and put your machine to work creating a resemblance of your friend or relative.
Be sure to keep these ideas in mind for other gift-giving occasions like birthdays, and use these concepts to spur your creativity.